Friday, 2 October 2009

Total War - Medieval 2 Kingdoms

I thought I would quickly provide another appreciation of all
things Total War with a heads-up of Medieval 2 and its Kingdoms add-on.
This has been eating up a lot of my time lately - probably too much, as my painting has suffered a little a result, although the various Romans are ticking along slowly in the background.
Back to MTW 2 Kingdoms though, which offer four campaigns - Britannia, Teutonic, the Americas and Crusades - all based along the standard TW mechanism of trade, espionage, conquest and war on an epic scale; this time set in locations ranging from the Holy Land to South America.

Medieval 2 in all its guises is a massive improvement graphically over its predecessors and boasts some impressive spectacles including sweeping sieges - including boiling oil - and awe-inspiring clashes, either as part of the various campaigns, historical one-off battles or custom battles tailored to the player. The latter is featured here with a quick custom skirmish clash between a force of Templar/Knights of Jerusalem and Turks in a barren stretch of desert.

For this particular encounter the Crusaders are heavily outnumbered and eventually succumb to their foes over a number of different play-throughs, although the tactical possibilities even for a comparatively small scrap such as this could have numerous outcomes within the game engine depending upon deployment and reactions to the enemy's actions during battle; a dynamic feature that makes the entire series so impressive.

The picture right, shows the Templars forming up for battle with a special unit in the form of a mobile cross central of their position. This item gives added morale and improves their fighting tenacity - all modelled as before within the AI - improving surrounding units' spirit.

Turkish heavy cavalry (left), who are controlled by the AI in this scenario, view the static Crusader line from high ground prior to executing a series of flanking attacks exploiting their numerical superiority in horsemen. The remaining force is off-screen to the left and moving up to form a deep battle line.

Upon sighting the Turks the two Templar crossbowmen units (above), occupying high ground at the edge of their own force, prepare their weapons. The remaining spear men and knights steel themselves for the assault that is to follow from massed Turkish infantry.

The enemy cavalry begin their charges sweeping in from both flanks - the game's AI does a credible job of simulating unit-type tactics and plays to their natural strengths. Prolonged movement on terrain, in this case heavy-going sand induces fatigue which in turn, affects morale and fighting qualities, particularly among lower grade troops; all modelled by the game.
The relative short distance involved here, however, has little effect on these elite riders allowing them to reach their enemy at maximum velocity as can be seen below.

The video shows the Turks, unhindered by the Templars' initial volley of bolts, charge the isolated crossbowmen with the sheer ferocity of their impact scattering the beleaguered knights who make a valiant last stand against overwhelming odds.

The battle plays out similarly all along the Crusader line with the combination of massed Turkish cavalry and infantry swamping their opposition; who, to their credit, and in keeping with their doctrine - faithfully maintained by the game's AI
- do not flee, but rather fight to the death where they stand, attempting to take as many of the enemy with them as they can.

This, like my previous Rome post, gives a tiny insight into what I consider to be a fantastic range of strategic and tactical PC-based historical war games. Yes, they have limitations - what doesn't? - but with their depth, detail, scope and sheer excitement with literally up to thousands of combatants on the screen at once in real time; they simply can't be beaten.

Especially since you can now pick up a copy for around a tenner!

Oh, well, back to the painting (once I've had one more attempt to try and beat those Turks by maybe trying plan G...)

All the best,



  1. If you've not seen it already, I suggest you check out Saxon Dog's blog. His most recent posts have included lots of hints and tips RE: Army Painter Quick Shade (he's painting 18th Century figures but they're still 28mm).

    As a result of his posts, I will be brushing on the AP rather than dipping. I will start using this technique on all future units (my Peltasts have just missed out though but after they're dipped i'm brushing off the excess which gives a better effect than just straight dipping and shaking).

    Take care Monty,


  3. Thanks Consul,
    I swear by AP - it's what got me back into miniatures again but I use strong tone as i find it suitable for just about anything.
    All the best, mate,

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